i'm officially on the scott spiezio bandwagon, thanks to the bunt he dropped leading off the 4th inning last night. in case you missed it, the cards -- playing behind their ace against a .250 team -- were down 5-0 at the time. but spiezio kept his head in the game; batting directly in front of pujols, and with the team needing baserunners, he took advantage of tony graffanino's lax positioning at 3d and set the table for albert -- then scored three pitches later on the pu's 20th dinger. that made it suddenly 5-2 -- the cards had hope again, the royals had doubt, and by the next inning st louis was ahead 9-5. it was only a bunt, an unlabeled a blip on fangraphs' win probability chart of the game -- not nearly as impactful as the big blow that followed, nor even spiezio's own game-tying single in the 5th inning. i don't care; i still like the bunt more. it was a discretionary play -- great situational recognition. so put me down as a huge fan of that bunt and, now, an unabashed fan of the player.
be honest: were you happier to see reggie sanders' homer (his 297th -- three more until he puts that 300-300 thing to rest) or the two extra-base hits by encarnacion? i can't help it, i'll always root for reggie. i mean, the xbh by encarnacion were nice and all, but . . . .
the cardinals are now 12 games over for the first time this season.
mark worrell absorbed a disastrous loss at double a last night. he was called in to get the last three outs after springfield broke a 5-5 tie with 3 runs in the top of the 9th; got the first man on a pop up but then yielded a homer, single, walk, walk, and grand slam. game over; cards lose 10-8. his season stat line is suddenly a mess: 11 walks and 5 home runs in 18 innings, a 1-3 record, and an era of 6.00. it's his 2d blown save this week; he coughed up monday night's game, too, walking in the tying and winning runs. in his last inning and a third he's yielded 3 homers, 6 walks, and 8 earned runs. that'll hurt your confidence a little bit . . . hope he can turn things around, will keep an eye on't.
while i was fishing out that information, my eye fell across this: some farmhand for the reds pitched a no-hitter and a one-hitter back-to-back. some guy named johnny cueto; pitches for dayton in the midwest league (low a ball). turns out the no-no was only a 5-inning rain-shortened one, and the one-hitter was a 7-inning doubleheader nightcap; takes a bit of the sparkle off the accomplishment. johnny vander meer, he's not. but in 8 starts this kid has thrown 40 innings, walked 6, struck out 52, and allowed 23 hits. that's right -- 2.25 strikeouts for every hit. the reds might want to consider moving him up a classification or four . . . .
. . . . which leads us to anthony reyes, whose start tonight seems like a much bigger deal than his big-league debut last august. in that start, he didn't seem to have anything on the line, nothing to prove. this game has far more the feel of an audition; he needs to make a good impression. the situation couldn't be more advantageous: facing a weak lineup and opposing a pitcher with a 6.48 career era. if you're at the game, please post a diary and tell us what you saw.